Sciatica is a term that refers to symptoms such as pain, numbness, and/or weakness that can start from the back of your leg and radiate along the lower part of your leg. The medical term for this is lumbar radiculopathy. The sciatic nerve holds the nerve roots of your lower back which innervate all the muscles from the low back all the way down to the foot. Pain varies from sharp pain to achy. Numbness and tingling and/or weakness can be experienced on that affected leg. Out of the Americans who suffer from lower back pain, 5-10% are also affected by sciatica which amounts to over half the adult US population. Millions of Americans are affected and struggle with disc-related sciatica pain.
Do you suffer from back pain that limits you from doing day to day activities? Many people struggling with pain make the mistake of leaning on prescription medications for relief, but drugs only mask the symptoms. They don’t target or correct the source of the pain. Thankfully, there is something that has been proven to work: physical therapy. Back pain is such a common condition that many people consider it a normal part of life and it can be reoccuring — but you don’t have to suffer. To start, know when to see a physical therapist for your pain, learn how to choose the right physical therapist to treat it, and ask smart questions about the tests and treatments your PT suggests.
Shoulder pain is a common injury. Studies show that 18 - 26% of adults are affected by shoulder pain. The shoulder has the most range or movement / motion of all the joints in the human body.
Pain of any type that occurs in any part of the head is called a headache. There are many different types of headaches, with just as many causes. Most headaches are harmless and resolve on their own, although severe headaches that recur frequently can affect your ability to do your daily activities and can reduce your quality of life.
Did gift wrapping hurt your back? Are you still feeling stressed out even after the Christmas break and feeling that in your muscles?
Ways that people hurt their back during the holidays:
Are you frustrated from pain that won’t go away and looking for a natural way to eliminate it? Do you want to avoid addictive pain meds or injections?
According to Mayo Clinic, "After just five days of prescription opioid use, the likelihood that you'll develop long-term dependence on these drugs rises steeply — increasing your risk of eventual addiction and overdose. And you don't need a prescription to be at risk. In fact, most people who misuse prescription painkillers report getting them from a family member or friend." The CDC has actually reported that the sales in prescription opioids have quadrupled in the United States without an overall change to the amount of pain experienced by Americans. Another way that aches and pains have been managed are through corticosteroid injections.
FDA has not approved of corticosteroid injections as they are dangerous and destructive to your health, they can cause weight gain, bleeding, infections just to name a few. This is because the effectiveness and safety of this drug use has not been established. Injections were not created to treat the cause of your pain or injury but just mask the pain via local analgesic components and short-circuit your pain.
What is pain?
Pain is an unpleasant sensation both physically and emotionally that links to tissue damage. The body reacts in order to prevent further tissue damage. People feel pain when specific nerves called nociceptors detect tissue damage and send signals along the spinal cord to the brain. Pain is similar to a “check engine” light in a car that gives us information that something is potentially wrong. The car will still drive, but there may be more problems down the road if we ignore it.
Do you get confused with focusing between mobility and stability? If yes, you are not alone.
For example: A patient develops back pain and complains of how stiff their back is and seeks treatment for their back. They do not complain of having restricted hip flexibility or stiffness, since the hips are not in pain. But it is commonly the tight hips that are the cause of the back pain for when we move, the hips need great movement in all directions, in order to prevent the back from flexing and extending. The lower back on the other hand must remain stable, while the hips must be the exact opposite, flexible and mobile.
The hip joint can withstand repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear. This ball-and-socket joint -- the body's largest -- fits together in a way that allows for fluid movement. Therefore, it’s important for anyone to maintain an adequate amount of range of motion in the hip joint [...]
My wrists hurt whenever I drive to work with my co-workers and we go through a tunnel. I think it’s carpool tunnel syndrome. All jokes aside: Don’t ignore your wrist or arm pain. Pain in the hands or wrist is more common now than ever. Especially because of handheld devices and computer focused work. Pain can originate in the muscle or the joint, and can be a result of genetics, general overuse or sudden impact [...]
Your elbow is a joint (synovial joint) which allows your body to lift items, throw objects, hug, swing, grasp, lean, reach etc. The range of movement in the elbow is from 0 degrees of elbow extension (straightening out your elbow) to 150 of elbow flexion (bending your elbow) [...]
Do you experience pain when you lift your arm above your head? While shoulder pain can be common, it should not be ignored. The shoulder is the most mobile joint of the body. Because it’s the most mobile joint in the body, it is susceptible for injury and pain. The timeless prevalence of shoulder pain in the U.S is something that cannot be ignored as it affects people of all ages. It has an average incidence of 29.3 per 1,000 person-years over a period of 9 years, with specific incidences of 32.2 for women and 26.2 for men. Shoulder pain can be short lived or indicative of a more complex issue. Shoulder pain is one of the most common diagnoses seen in the clinic with one of the most popular question being “did I tear my rotator cuff?” another popular question is “Do I have an impingement?” Almost every day, patients are treated with shoulder pain, instability, or stiffness. Most patients have heard of the rotator cuff, however, what the rotator cuff is still remains a mystery to most. [...]
It’s pretty normal for everyone to wake up feeling a little achy, stiff, or a little pain from their muscles from time to time. Because this is a common symptom, people try to fix it based on what they believe is the cause. However, there are many causes of muscle pain and stiffness and in order to be free from it (or at least significantly reduce your episodes of stiffness), keep reading. [...]
You would not wear pants that are 1-2 sizes too small, or put on gloves with holes in them. You certainly wouldn't wear high heels to go on a long hike. So why aren't we choosing the correct shoes to wear for inside and outside activities?
Your feet play a very important part of supporting your body weight, and sustaining the impact of standing, walking, running and everything else that you do throughout the day. When your feet don’t get the support it needs, it can lead to issues like blisters, bony bumps on your feet called bunions, hammertoes, shin splints, knee pain and even back pain. [...]
Sensing some low back pain that travels down your leg? Could it be sciatica or something else? Back pain or even the fear of back pain is debilitating and can stop someone from being active or even perform the daily functional activities. If the pain you’re feeling starts from your low back and radiates down your leg, chances are you could be dealing with sciatica. But the only way to figure that out is through a professional diagnosis from your medical doctor. If it’s confirmed that it’s sciatica, keep reading, because this post is for you! [...]
Have you ever skipped out on fun outings or activities like hiking because you feel like you weren’t able to keep up? Or maybe the day after a hike, you feel like you’ve completely worn your knees out? How about when going up the steps, you feel a “catch” and/or hear crackling when you either bend or straighten your knee? If so, welcome to the club [...]
Imagine getting ready for a 10K… new shoes, weeks of training, an air-tight exercise routine, high-quality snacks… you’ve got it all planned out. The big day finally arrives and you hop in the car to get into the fray. Excitement builds and you’ve got your eye on the prize. In your excitement, though, you forget the golden rule – the one thing you’ve been doing day in and day out for the past half year… you forget to warm up. 10 minutes of solid running and something in your leg gives way, you’re knee seems to cramp, your back compensates, and then the unthinkable happens: you’re sitting on the pavement, hand in the small of your back, looking at the dust left behind by those still in the race.
Pain can make us do things we never thought we’d do. It may drive us to take painkillers every few hours, turn to ice/cold packs in frustration, or kick us into high gear in the gym or our yoga classes. It may even lead some of us to turn to injections. The bottom line is that pain has a way of turning the world upside down; it can push people into the arms of the strangest ‘cures’ just so that they may be rid of the discomfort and daily agony. But, how often do those solutions and cures really work? If you’re dealing with terrible, debilitating pain, how well is that downward facing dog really coping with treating the issue? My bet is… not very well.
Sometimes it feels as though we’re living through a movie, not reality. For many of us, our daily routines have been trimmed down from trips to the office, shopping, hiking, time with friends, gym, going out for drinks, and date nights, to getting up from the bed and moving to the sofa… only to move back to bed when the sun sets. We’ve been flung out of our ‘normal’ into an unknown, sedentary world. And, of course, it’s not just your gin and tonic craving that’s not getting fulfilled – it’s your PT program, too. In the course of a few weeks, many of you reading this may have effectively stopped your physical activities and given up on doing your regular physical therapy routine. So, it’s time we wrote you a blog.
The good old days… , strolling down your driveway to wave at a neighbor and perhaps share in some gossip, meeting your friends at the local sushi restaurant for a bite to eat… we miss that, don’t we? Self-isolation and quarantine can be really tough on our minds, hearts, and bodies. We tend to see things differently and we may even start to become down-hearted, feel less energetic, and, in general, we may start forgetting what it means to stay healthy in mind, body, and soul. In fact, some of you reading this might be avoiding the scales like a plague because tucking into a bag of chips has now replaced your regular walk! Don’t worry – this is much more common than you think. So, we’re writing to share some thoughts on how to stay healthy and active during these unprecedented times, not only for your mental wellbeing, but for your muscles, heart, immune system, and general physical health, too.
Remember how you used to be terrified of needles as a child? How thinking about the glinting needles probably helped you forget you were sick at all? Yes, we all know that feeling and remember it well. So, what changed? As we grew up, became braver, and started listening to our bodies a little less, our distrust of needles seems to have dwindled. Now, we run to the doctor for all manner of injections, and while vitamin B shots and flu jabs are at the lower risk end of the spectrum, many injections pose a very large, very scary risk to our health and wellbeing. Why, then, do we do subject ourselves to the needle-point? For many of us the answer is simple: we live with pain and just cannot do it anymore. Injections, on the advice of our doctors, promise a pain-free life with little to no wait. Injections don’t need marketing – they market themselves; if we’re in pain, we’ll do anything. The truth is, though, none of the side effects get discussed much, and all too often the advantages of shots are blown out of proportion. The truth is, not only do injections fail to produce any sort of permanent pain-free lifestyle, they go hand-in-hand with a whole bunch of negative aftereffects, some short term and others, sadly, long-term. If you’re reading this and thinking injections may be your only option, don’t fear – we’re here to spill the beans on shots, their consequences, and what other safe, long-term solutions you have at your disposal instead!
If your desk area consists of a sofa cushion, and low coffee table, then we’re taking a stab in the dark and guessing you’ve converted your living room into an office. And while that’s all fun and games, working from home can actually be quite stressful on your muscles and joints – despite the extended periods sitting down! In this post, we discuss the ways in which you can stay healthy and active while working from home. So, let’s adjust the couch seat, make a fresh brew, and get stuck in!
Dr. Jack Wong
Leading Physical Therapist In The Kingwood Area